THE Golden State Warriors have not played for eight days, but it seemed some of the players have their minds fixed on things beyond the basketball court ahead of their Western Conference semifinals match-up with the Utah Jazz.
In a report by ESPN’s Chris Haynes, some of the Warriors were rooting for the Los Angeles Clippers to defeat the Jazz in the first round, not because of what they considered a favorable matchup but more for the post-game activities they can find on the road.
“There’s no nightlife in Utah,” said Barnes, who also noted his desire to beat his former Clippers team and be with his kids in LA.
“Obviously as players, you want to be able to have a little bit of a nightlife, but the main focus is winning games,” he was quick to add.
Barnes, though, was not the only one in the Golden State team who hoped to be in LA than in Salt Lake City. Teammate Kevin Durant noted that he’s never been to a club in Utah, but reiterated that wherever they play he keeps his preparation and focus the same.
Andre Iguodala also pointed out that boredom in Utah could be counter-productive in trying to get your mind focused on another intense playoff battle.
“The problem with Utah is that you're just sitting there and your mind is, like, dead, because in L.A., you still got energy for the game. Because you're in L.A., you're like, 'Man, this is just the vibe in L.A.' but in Utah, it can kind of lull you to sleep,” he said.
“And then you've slept too long or I'm bored out of my mind and now you got to try to pump yourself up for the game. You know you're in the playoffs and you're supposed to be pumped anyway, but the vibe is just like, 'Man, let's just get out of here,” Iguodala added.
The Warriors coaching staff, though, doesn’t mind having the players stay put with less distractions in Utah.
Iguodala was also quick to note that they could use the time in Utah to bond as a team some more, and that not being in LA could actually be beneficial for them.
Draymond Green and Steph Curry, though, are far less worried about what to do in the leisure hours after games. Instead, they kept their focus on their own preparation for a tough series against the league’s top defensive team.
“It’s the playoff. Nobody worried about nightlife during the playoffs,” said Green, who has eaten more red meat to increase his red blood cell count as preparation for playing in Utah’s higher altitude.
"Guys are disciplined. They know how to handle themselves in whatever city. Obviously, most of the guys here are more familiar with L.A. than Salt Lake City. But at the end of the day, if you're worried about extracurricular during the playoffs and that's your priority, then you got it twisted already. It's a business trip wherever we end up going. We'll be ready," added Curry.
The Warriors host the Jazz in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals clash on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).